Author Archives: 1960s: Days of Rage

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage

Liverpool’s right-side triangle returns just in time for Real Madrid tie

“During Liverpool’s run towards Champions League glory back in 2019, one adjustment paved the way for future success. After introducing Jordan Henderson as a right-sided midfielder for the last 31 minutes against Southampton in April 2019, Jurgen Klopp started the English midfielder on the right side of his midfield against Porto four days later in the first leg of the quarter-finals of the Champions League. …”
The Athletic

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Joining Wrexham fans group London Reds for an away day – ‘it’s rarely simple’

“Kick-off is a little under an hour away as the train hurtles towards Aldershot. Onboard are the London Reds, Wrexham’s official supporters club in the capital. About 30 members are making the trip, plus a couple of interlopers. One of the interlopers is Sion Jones, who hails from Felin-fach, not far from Aberaeron in west Wales. He’s supposed to be enjoying a family weekend in London, but has instead become an honorary member for the day, leaving his wife, kids and mother-in-law to explore London without him. …”
The Athletic

European roundup: Neymar carried off before Messi’s late winner for PSG

“Lionel Messi scored a stunning free-kick in added time to earn Paris Saint-Germain a 4-3 comeback win over Lille and lift them eight points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 standings. PSG, who have struggled for consistency since their return from the World Cup break, extended their lead over second-placed Marseille who travel to Toulouse later on Sunday. …”
Guardian (Serie A, Germany, Video)

Frontline football: ‘We try to show the same fight as the Ukrainian soldiers fighting for us’

“Celtic Park in Glasgow is among the most partisan football grounds in Europe – you don’t want to be on the wrong end of this crowd. But Celtic fans know the world, and last September was different: home supporters lined the approach to the stadium, to greet and applaud the visitors’ coach as it arrived for a big night in the Champions League. Aboard it: Shakhtar Donetsk, the Ukrainian champions who had not played a game at home for nine years, since Russian separatists and armed forces occupied their city in 2014. The crowd cheered the bus, and – poignantly – among the home fans’ Irish tricolours were flags of blue and yellow, those of Ukraine, waved by a group of children – refugees from the war that ravages their homeland, now settled in Glasgow. …”
Guardian

Newcastle 0 Liverpool 2: Klopp’s top-four bid alive, Pope’s agony, Alisson’s excellence

Newcastle’s meeting with Liverpool always had the look of the game of the weekend, and it duly delivered the drama to justify that status. A 2-0 win for Jurgen Klopp’s side reignited their previously fading hopes of securing a place in the top four, but of arguably more significance was a red card to Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope that leaves Eddie Howe desperately short of goalkeeping options ahead of next weekend’s Carabao Cup final. …”
The Athletic

European roundup: Bayern beaten again by bogey side Mönchengladbach

“Borussia Mönchengladbach beat 10-man Bayern Munich 3-2 on Saturday, stretching their unbeaten run over the Bundesliga champions to five games in all competitions. Gladbach went ahead through Lars Stindl in the 13th minute after Bayern got off to a nightmare start, with Dayot Upamecano bringing down Alassane Pléa outside the box and being shown a red card in the eighth minute. Stindl missed a golden chance to double their lead in the 24th but sent his close-range shot wide. …”
Guardian

How Manchester United’s speed and directness ripped through Barcelona’s defence

“When Pep Guardiola took his Manchester City team to Old Trafford in November 2021, he had one thing on his mind when it came to stopping Manchester United’s threat. … More than a year has passed and United’s prowess on the offensive transitions is still there. The profiles of their attackers give United the upper hand in situations when they have just won the ball back and want to attack quickly. That is also helped by improvements off the ball under Erik ten Hag. …”
The Athletic
The Athletic: Barcelona’s Raphinha changed the game against Man United — so why did Xavi replace him?
The Athletic: Manchester United and Barcelona are on upward arcs — this was a worthy chapter in their rivalry

Reputation Meets Reality in the Champions League

“… Sure, Chelsea and Tottenham had both lost the first legs of their Champions League round of 16 ties, but that was nothing to worry about. There are the home games to come in a few weeks. Things will be better then. Wrongs will be righted. Everything is breezy. Neither manager’s pose was particularly ludicrous. Neither team had played especially badly. Both sides might have felt just a little unfortunate to have lost. Chelsea, still feeling its way to a settled identity after its winter excess, created a raft of chances against Borussia Dortmund. …”
NY Times

Why is illegal streaming so popular?

The illegal streaming of football matches remains a problem for the football industry and there are few signs that that’s about to change. But why is illegal streaming so popular? And why is it even an option? Tifo conducted its own survey, alongside industry research to find out why football fans illegally stream, and what the authorities are doing about it. Written by Seb Stafford-Bloor, illustrated by Craig Silcock.
YouTube

Why Silva at left-back vs Saka was a mistake and how moving Ake gave City control

“Pep Guardiola’s way of surprising Mikel Arteta was by not surprising him. Instead, Guardiola maintained the system he’d used in a comfortable weekend win over Aston Villa, which was most notable for the presence of Bernardo Silva as a left-sided ‘half-back’: a central midfielder when his team was in possession, a left-back without it. …”
The Athletic – Michael Coxfo

Inside Barcelona’s day of chaos as new scandal breaks – this one looks really bad

“It was the first thing everyone seemed to be asking as soon as the news broke. Are Barcelona going to be docked points like Juventus? Also, could they even be dropped down the leagues? It sounds really bad: prosecutors are investigating payments totalling €1.4million (£1.2m; $1.3m) the club made to a company owned by Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira who, at the time, was vice-president of Spanish football’s refereeing committee. …”
The Athletic

The best goalkeeping performances in Champions League history – ranked

“There’s been plenty of brilliant individual performances in the UEFA Champions League down the years. Lionel Messi vs. Man Utd, Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Juventus, Ronaldo (R9) vs. Manchester United are some of the standouts from the outfield players, but what about goalkeepers? Well, here’s the five best from the boys between the posts. …”
90min

Liverpool, Real Madrid and terror at the Champions League final: Fans’ stories


“The Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid should have been one of last year’s great sporting showpieces — a meeting between two of European football’s aristocrats, in one of Europe’s grandest venues, in one of its finest cities, for arguably club football’s greatest prize. Instead, the day turned into a nightmare for thousands of supporters. …”
The Athletic (Video)

Barcelona’s ban on opposition colours and their fear of another Camp Nou takeover

“‘I am ashamed of what I’ve seen. We will take action.’ These were the words of Barcelona president Joan Laporta after the second leg of last season’s Europa League quarter-final with Eintracht Frankfurt. In April 2022, his club had just suffered their second European embarrassment of the season. The first was elimination at the Champions League group stage that autumn. The second saw them knocked out of the Europa League at a Camp Nou overflowing with away fans. …”
The Athletic

Manchester City and the Bruising Battle to Avoid Losing It All


“The phone rang at 8 a.m., and the Manchester City communications official answered right away. A reporter was on the line, requesting comment on the news emanating from the Middle East that morning in 2008: that City, a Premier League soccer team with an unremarkable history and dust gathering in its trophy cabinet, had just been purchased by a wealthy Arab sheikh, the brother of the ruler of the United Arab Emirates. … Within an hour, the news that Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan had become the owner of Manchester City was out. A new era had begun. With the stroke of a pen, a venerable, well-liked and occasionally tragicomic member of English soccer’s establishment had become one of the richest teams on the planet, a usurper-in-waiting to the game’s elite. …”
NY Times
YouTube: Could Manchester City be relegated?

Valencia hurtle towards relegation as another protest engulfs Mestalla

“Most of Valencia’s fans didn’t see the goal that momentarily pulled them clear of the relegation zone but they did see the goals that pushed them back in again. They were at Mestalla on Saturday night but not in Mestalla when Samu Castillejo’s 16th-minute shot put them one up against Athletic Club. Instead, they were still outside, desperate to escape the abyss. Beyond the wall, Castillejo’s first goal since September came to a backdrop of empty seats and packed streets, yellow everywhere, but at least offered brief hope of a first win in three months; when those fans finally headed in, it was taken away again, a 2-1 defeat deepening their desperation. …”
Guardian

Bayern switching the play tormented PSG’s exposed defence — and Coman made them pay


“For many years, the Champions League has decided the narrative of the whole season for Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, regardless of their domestic performances. In this one, that applies more than ever. The turbulence both of these European giants are experiencing in their own leagues has put more pressure on the playing squads and their respective managers, Julian Nagelsmann and Christophe Galtier, going into their face-off in the Champions League’s round of 16. …”
The Athletic
Guardian: Kingsley Coman returns to haunt PSG and give Bayern Munich the edge

1930 FIFA World Cup Group 1

“Group 1 of the 1930 FIFA World Cup was one of four groups in the opening round of tournament. The group featured Argentina, Chile, France and Mexico. Play began on 13 July 1930 when France defeated Mexico 4–1 in the opening match. Lucien Laurent scored the first goal in World Cup history after 19 minutes to give his side the lead. France played again in the second fixture, suffering defeat against Argentina in a controversial match which saw the referee mistakenly blow the whistle for full-time six minutes early.  …”
Wikipedia

Champions League last-16 preview: Analysing each team’s tactics

“Europe’s top competition is back. For those who have missed the soothing tones of the Champions League anthem, fear not. The knockout stage is upon us and we have 16 more games to feast on over the next four weeks. Using FiveThirtyEight’s well-respected prediction model, Bayern Munich stand as favourites to win the competition, edging ahead of Manchester City, Real Madrid and dark horses Napoli. However, we all know how knockout football works — do not expect things to go the way you might predict. …”
The Athletic (Video)

Uefa had ‘primary responsibility’ for Champions League final chaos, damning report finds

“Uefa bears ‘primary responsibility’ for the catastrophic organisational and safety failures that turned last season’s Champions League final into a horrific, traumatic experience for thousands of supporters, Uefa’s own review has concluded. That central finding, and alarming criticisms of the culture and operations at the confederation of European football, and of the French police, are made in a damning report produced by the panel Uefa appointed to review the chaos that engulfed the final between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Paris last May. …”

Arsenal’s consistent selection has helped them but evolution may be required

“In the first half of the season, the consistency of Arsenal’s selection provided the foundation for their success. From pre-season through until January, manager Mikel Arteta was largely able to keep his preferred XI on the field. But after taking just one point from their last two Premier League games, Arteta must be toying with the idea of whether to twist rather than stick. …”
The Athletic

League Two: Buoyant Bantams bash Boro

“There is a little, cautious buzz in Stevenage at the moment; in January the club pulled off a momentous FA Cup giant-kill when they won 2-1 at Premier League Aston Villa and there is genuine hope the club can win promotion back to League One this season. They lost to Stoke City in round four, but even in defeat they had already added to the club’s impressive record in the competition. …”
Game of the People

Luciano Spalletti – Napoli – Tactical Analysis (2022-23)

“Luciano Spalletti has worked wonders since arriving to the scene of Naples in 2021. The Italian manager helped Napoli to a third-place finish last season, and now prepares to lead the closing stages of their title charge in 2023. With some supremely smart acquisitions in the summer working their magic, Gli Azzurri currently sit ten points clear atop the table, and have more than double the points of Serie A’s historical dominator – Juventus. If Spalletti can continue to get his tactics right and maintain the remarkably positive culture he’s built since arriving, Napoli will walk away with the title this year. So with that, here is our analysis of the club from Naples so far in 2022-23.  …”
The Mastermindsite

Nathan Jones at Southampton: Inside the Welshman’s hiring and firing

“The writing was on the wall for Nathan Jones. Southampton had lost 2-1 at home to Wolves, having been a goal up and played with an extra man for over an hour. For the first time since 1998, it was five straight defeats at home. At the final whistle, as boos reverberated around St Mary’s and a supporter was thrown out for attempting to hand him a P45, Jones walked straight down the tunnel. …”
The Athletic

Jurgen Klopp turned doubters into believers once already at Liverpool. Now he must do it again

“… Barely a year after reaching the Champions League final, Dortmund went on a run that saw them lose 11 of their first 19 games of the Bundesliga season. In early February they were bottom of the table, an astonishing fall from grace for Klopp and his team. Eventually, they rallied to win five and draw two of their next seven games, moving away from the relegation zone and ending up in seventh position. But after seven years, two Bundesliga titles, a German Cup, two German Super Cups, one Champions League final and more magical moments than their fans could ever have dreamed when he arrived from Mainz in 2008, Klopp told the Dortmund hierarchy in early April 2015 that he, his players and the club needed a change. …”
The Athletic
The Athletic: The problems facing Liverpool in the biggest crisis of Jurgen Klopp’s reign (Video)

Special investigation: Cardiff City, an unhappy club on a downward spiral

“Sabri Lamouchi’s first media commitments as Cardiff City’s new manager brought a pertinent question about a figure he had yet to meet. With two predecessors sacked in a season only just beyond its halfway mark, was he aware of owner Vincent Tan’s impatience? … Lamouchi knows the eccentricities of the Championship after 15 months in charge of Nottingham Forest, a club familiar with volatility under Evangelos Marinakis, but Cardiff’s downward spiral has begun to chew up and spit out its managers at pace. …”
The Athletic (Video)

The English Soccer Streak That Is ‘Just Statistically Ridiculous’

“Maybe it’s bad luck. Maybe it’s unconscious bias. Maybe it’s subpar skill. Maybe it’s conscious bias. Maybe a new strategy is needed. Maybe it’s a far-reaching conspiracy. Maybe the fates are cruel and unknowable. The maddening streak currently playing out for Bristol City, a mainstay of English soccer’s second-tier league, the Championship, since 2015, has defied explanation for everyone involved, and the sense of grievance stacks higher with each passing game. It has left the team and its fans wondering: Will Bristol City ever earn a penalty kick again? …”
NY Times

Ranked! The 50 best football teams of all time

“Deciding the best teams in history is never easy, but FourFourTwo thrives on making the tough decisions. So, each staff member armed with their personal favourites, FFT gathered in a darkened room one evening to narrow things down. Deliberations continued long into the night. In between the bickering, name-calling and hair-pulling, one thing became apparent – this list had to be about more than just cold, bare trophy hauls. Football is also about intangibles: how cool a team is; what effect they have on future generations; their aura. …”
FourFourTwo

Big football names come in all shapes and sizes

“BEFORE football became the plaything of broadcasters, governments and corporates, big clubs could be found in almost every country in Europe. A club wasn’t considered big by merely having a huge bank balance, but more by its place in society. Hence, any list of the world’s most influential clubs would include those that were systemic in their own market – in other words, a giant in their domestic league and a force in European football. Today, a club’s revenues, wage bill, brand power and social media presence are every bit as important. This shift, coupled with the collapse of state-supported clubs in the old communist bloc, has changed the pecking order in global football. …”
Game of the People

Spanish third tier on brink of collapse as federation and club fallout continues

“Spanish football’s third tier could face collapse in the next 24 hours. A stand-off with the country’s football federation means the clubs must fall in line or risk funding being removed and the Primera Federación being abandoned just 18 months after it was set up. With at least 18 of the 40 clubs abstaining from voting on proposed economic controls and management of the two-group Primera Federación, a ballot was set up on Tuesday night. …”
The Guardian

What the new Super League is proposing ⁠- and how football has responded


BBC: Plans for a European Super League led to protests outside Premier League stadiums
“The European Super League is back. We told you it would be. On Thursday, organisers of the controversial project presented a long-promised new proposal for a ‘multi-division’ competition involving up to 80 clubs, operating wholly outside of the authority of UEFA, European football’s current governing body. … It didn’t take long for the proposal to make waves across the sport. Immediately after the document’s publication, The Athletic contacted a number of clubs, leagues, governing bodies and charities to gather their views. You’ll find their opinions below in our line-by-line breakdown of A22’s statement. …”
The Athletic
The Athletic: The Super League’s return explained: How it would work, the response — and what happens next (Video)
BBC – European Super League: New proposal would be open competition, say organisers
W – European Super League

How Erik ten Hag fixed Man Utd

Ever since Sir Alex Ferguson departed Manchester United the club has struggled to find a successful manager. That is until this season and the arrival of Erik ten Hag. The dutchman has revolutionised the way United play. Seemingly overnight he has moved the team from a counter-attacking style under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, to a possessional style similar to the Ajax team he created. So how has he done it? Which players have improved the most? How far are United from challenging the very best clubs? Jon Mackenzie explains. Henry Cooke illustrates.
YouTube

2023 Copa Libertadores: location-map for the 47-team tournament, with Club Histories


“… This is the 64th iteration of the Copa Libertadores, the most prestigious football tournament in South America. The 2023 tournament is the 7th since it was expanded in 2017, from 38 to 47 teams. Since then, no team from a country other than Brazil or Argentina has won the title (Brazilian teams have won it 5 times since the tournament-expansion, and an Argentinian team has won it once since then). And Brazilian sides have won the last four titles. … This map includes the Preliminary-Stage teams: there are 19 preliminary-stage teams…and only four of those 19 teams will advance to the Group Stage. …”
billsportsmaps
W – 2023 Copa Libertadores

Ajax 1-1 Volendam: An Alternative Match Report

“As the players finish their warm-ups prior to kickoff at the Arena, “Freed From Desire” blares out and the stadium shakes with Taadeech on fiiiire! It’s the same routine before every match, so even though I’m busy buying a pint, I know that Dušan Tadić, captain of Ajax, is the only remaining player on the pitch. I know that he gets the ball just outside the box and takes a few touches before cutting inside on his weaker right foot. He shoots, looks up towards the fans, and applause ensues. …”
Football Paradise

Jesse Marsch at Leeds: Don’t rely on a transition game if your team can’t defend them


“In life, transitional periods put us under pressure for a certain period of time. Moving from one state or condition to another can present difficulties and, if you aren’t prepared, it might hit you hard. Whether it’s transitioning from an old job to a new one, moving houses, or maybe a different head coach at your football club. …”
The Athletic (Video)

Manchester City May Fall, but Soccer’s Billionaire Era Lives On – Brian Phillips


“… I thought about Mrs. Grayle on Monday, when the Premier League quietly posted a statement on its website charging Manchester City, the most dominant club in the past decade of English soccer, with more than 100 violations of league financial rules stretching back to 2009. Man City is famously rich, but it hasn’t been rich all that long. … Which meant—to be technically precise again—money. …”
The Ringer

Gavi’s story: The spark, speed & spirit of Barcelona’s fearless star who plays with his boots untied


“It was in November 2021 that people started to talk about Gavi’s laces. A photo showed Nico Gonzalez tying the player’s boots for him during a Champions League match for Barcelona at Dynamo Kyiv. Gavi, then 17, stood with his hands on his hips, watching as his midfield team-mate apparently came to his aid. Later, Gonzalez posted the picture on Instagram with the caption: ‘It’s really time you learned…’ But the truth is there was no lesson going on, nor did the scene have anything to do with the Kyiv cold. …”
The Athletic
W – Gavi

The great Liverpool rebuild: Who deserves to stay and who should go?

“Sell them all. Rip it up and clear it out. Nothing is working and it just keeps getting worse. There are no other options. If you had not rage-quit your Football Manager play-through already with Liverpool’s season going so badly wrong, the next tactic would be listing as many players as you wanted on the transfer list and having a crazy summer window. …”
The Athletic

Inside the Juventus crisis: The Paratici ‘black book’, Chiellini’s WhatsApps and Ronaldo’s wages


“If English football needed proof of how hard it can be to dispel the clouds cast by a major financial scandal, they need only look at Italy. While Manchester City are only beginning to confront over 100 claims that they breached financial regulations over a nine-season period, Juventus — the most successful club in the history of Serie A — have been under siege for almost two years. The scrutiny on the Turin giants has been four-pronged. …”
The Athletic (Video)

Stats, scouting and smart coaching: how Toulouse exceed expectations

“‘Believe in yourselves. We are right. You are right. The coaching staff are right,’ said an impassioned Damien Comolli. The former Liverpool and Tottenham director, now Toulouse president, was trying to inspire a dejected dressing room as the players slumped in their seats after a 6-1 rout by Marseille at the end of December. Comolli’s faith has proven well-placed. The team responded by going on a five-game unbeaten run that only ended this weekend, when they were narrowly defeated 2-1 by PSG in Paris. Toulouse, one of the more avant garde teams in Ligue 1, keep exceeding expectations. …”
Guardian

Senegal win penalty shootout against Algeria to become CHAN champions


“Algeria’s hopes of winning the TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) on home soil were crushed in heartbreaking fashion as they lost 5-4 on penalties to Senegal in the final on Saturday. The Local Teranga Lions edged hosts in a very tense final at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers in front of 39,120 spectators on a cold winter night. …”
CAF
YouTube: Algeria 🆚 Senegal All Penalties – TotalEnergies CHAN2022 – Final

Earnie Stewart’s Departure Adds to Uncertain Times at U.S. Soccer


“On Wednesday night, the U.S. men’s national team and its interim coaching staff kicked off the 2026 World Cup cycle in administrative limbo. On Thursday morning, they awoke in Los Angeles to what U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) president Cindy Parlow Cone called ‘a clean canvas.’ Already without a full-time manager for the foreseeable future thanks to the review and investigation into Gregg Berhalter’s on-field performance and off-field conduct, the USSF now finds itself without a sporting director and a men’s general manager. …”
SI

‘Barca pulling ‘levers’? Real did it first’ — Jaume Roures, the man who crosses Spain’s conflicting football worlds

“On the 16th floor of an office complex in downtown Barcelona, we’re inside a meeting room that’s surrounded by glass walls and filled with trophies. This is the main headquarters of Mediapro, a Spanish communication group founded by Jaume Roures in 1994. Maybe you haven’t heard of Roures, but there are plenty of reasons The Athletic has come to meet him. …”
The Athletic

A player taking a short corner then finishing off the move — could it catch on?


“Imagine this situation: you’re playing in a game of football and your side have won a corner kick. The planned routine is a short corner and your task is to get on the end of the eventual ball into the box. What if you could 100 per cent guarantee you would have several yards of space at the start of this move and you could be relatively sure that no one would track your run? …”
The Athletic – Michael Cox

Manchester City are winning, but have problems in possession

“The problem for A-grade students all over the world is that a B on any test raises eyebrows. Despite their recent victories, Manchester City’s performance on the ball has not been as convincing as it was early in the season, or recent years. The movement and the dynamics against Wolverhampton Wanderers last Sunday felt like City were picking up their rhythm, but against Arsenal it was off the pace again. …”
The Athletic

Russian teams playing friendly matches in Turkey despite UEFA and FIFA bans

“Beneath the winter sun in the grounds of the five-star Sueno Hotel in Antalya on Turkey’s southern coast, where golf buggies help guests navigate the lengthy distances from their hotel rooms to plush facilities, a modest crowd is gathered between two football pitches. Austria Vienna are taking on Partizan Belgrade of Serbia on one pitch. Both clubs are big hitters in the top flights of their respective countries, and both are members of UEFA, European football’s organising body. Two teams that are trying to keep fit and focused as their leagues take a winter break. …”
The Athletic

The CONCACAF/CONMEBOL partnership: Everything we know so far — Copa America, W Gold Cup and beyond


“CONCACAF and CONMEBOL on Friday unveiled a wide-ranging partnership on Friday that will have significant ramifications for both men’s and women’s soccer in the western hemisphere, with the 2024 Copa America set to be hosted in the United States, the 2024 CONCACAF W Gold Cup to include four teams from South America and a new tournament featuring two men’s clubs from each federation set to come online in 2024. …”
The Athletic

Everton’s Identity Crisis



“Frank Lampard can, at least, be sure that there will be no lasting damage. The disappointment of his firing as Everton manager will sting for a while, of course, but there is little reason to believe it will be held against him. A failure to meet expectations at Everton has long since become the sort of thing that might happen to anyone. It did not, after all, stop Carlo Ancelotti — who steered Everton to the dizzying heights of 10th in the Premier League in his sole full season at Goodison Park — from getting the Real Madrid job. …”
NY Times

Premier League mid-season review: Who wins the title? Who gets top four? Best signing?


“Will Arsenal hold off the challenge of Manchester City to win their first Premier League title since 2004? Who has been the best signing of 2022-23? And what about the worst? What’s been your goal of the season? And how about your favourite game? We asked a group of our writers to review the Premier League season so far — and their responses feature a lot of Mikel Arteta and Erling Haaland… ”
The Athletic

Preston ready to bring the noise for Spurs visit tinged with Cup history

“More than 13 years have passed since the 68th and previous staging of a fixture which is 123 years old but on Saturday has only a fourth edition since 1972: Preston North End v Tottenham Hotspur. The last time the northern and southern Lilywhites clashed came on 23 September 2009 at Deepdale when Alan Irvine’s Preston suffered a 5-1 loss to the Spurs of Harry Redknapp in a League Cup tie decorated by Peter Crouch’s hat-trick and strikes from Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe, the visitors also fielding Jermaine Jenas, Wilson Palacios and a youthful Gareth Bale. …”
Guardian

How Wilfried Gnonto Became Leeds United’s Unexpected Star Attraction

“It was 19 August 2022 – a day before Leeds were set to host Chelsea – with Jesse Marsch doing his usual pre-match press conference. The defining days of the transfer window were fast approaching, and an interest in Wilfried Gnonto, an 18-year-old forward at FC Zürich, had been circulating in the days leading up to the match. With Marsch rarely one to return an abrupt answer, it was always worth asking him to shed some light. …”
The Analyst

Mohamed Salah’s Liverpool slump explained – a team failure, not an individual one


“When Mohamed Salah finished joint top of the Premier League’s scoring charts with Tottenham’s Son Heung-min in May, it earned the Liverpool attacker his third Golden Boot in five seasons. In the absence of a major international tournament, Salah then had an extended summer break and his contract saga was resolved when he signed a new three-year contract worth more than £350,000 per week — making him the highest-paid player in the club’s history. …”
The Athletic

Kovac steers Wolves out of the woods amid shambles of Hertha Berlin

Wolves are built to thrive in bitter winter, so with the champions still struggling to de-ice the windscreen and get the motor running, who better to assume the role of Bayern for now? In a glacial Olympiastadion in Berlin on Tuesday, Wolfsburg flamed their hosts, Hertha, 5-0 to make it two wins, 11 goals scored and none conceded. They remain seventh, but three points off third place and with a better goal difference, and defensive record, than any team beyond Bayern. …”
Guardian

Arsenal’s clever corners and their importance in the Premier League title race

“On April 10, 1993, Manchester United needed a win to regain top spot in the inaugural Premier League season. A draw against Sheffield Wednesday would not have been enough to return to the summit with only five games remaining afterwards. The final minutes of that game played a major role in United’s first Premier League title. …”
The Athletic

Diogo Dalot and the role of the modern fullback


Positions are constantly evolving in modern football. Or rather, there are no new ideas in football. Just new contexts in which old ideas seem revitalised. None more so than the role of the full back. Liverpool’s Robertson and Alexander-Arnold appeared to have redefined the modern full back, but more recently we are seeing ‘inverted’ full backs. And some full backs, like Diogo Dalot can be like Robertson and Alexander-Arnold, and invert. Jon Mackenzie explains how. Marco Bevilacqua illustrates.
YouTube

Football row brings bitter Algeria-Morocco rivalry to forefront


“The beautiful game is often able to unite the world, but when it comes to Algeria and Morocco, even football is failing to bridge the decades-long rivalry between the North African neighbours. The latest controversy occurred this month when Morocco withdrew from the African Nations Championship, held in Algeria. The Moroccans announced hours before the tournament began on January 13 that they would not be going because they had not been given permission to fly directly from Rabat to the Algerian city of Constantine and they refused to travel by an indirect route. …”
Aljazeera (Video)
Aljazeera: Morocco condemns ‘provocative’ acts at Algeria football cup (Video)

Why Man United’s poor organisation out of possession was likely to end in tears


“If Arsenal’s 3-2 victory over Manchester United on Sunday afternoon felt particularly momentous, it’s because it was essentially two types of big win combined. On one hand, it was about Arsenal completely outplaying United, dominating possession and territory, and creating far more chances. On the other, there was the drama of a late winner providing a definitive, exhilarating moment. …”
The Athletic – Michael Cox
The Athletic – Arsenal 3-2 Manchester United analysed: Are Arteta’s men really going to win this title?

CONIFA: Football’s Hidden Movement


“In Qatar, the dust, in both a literal and figurative sense, is just settling after a barnstorming three weeks of football produced a raft of historic moments; the drama, controversy, and intrigue which characterised the World Cup’s build-up somehow managing to permeate events on the field. A total of 206 nations may have vied for a place in the 2022 instalment of FIFA’s showpiece competition, but only 32 descended on the Middle East last November. But the glitz, glamour, and glory of the World Cup Finals didn’t evade just those 174 remaining member associations—many others, excluded from football’s international governance structures, were also consigned to watching the planet’s biggest sporting festival unfold from home. …”
Football Paradise
amazon: CONIFA: Football for the Forgotten